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Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review - Page 5

Southern Caribbean Cruise on the Celebrity Constellation

By Ed Schlenk

As on all Millennium class ships, the cabins are efficient in size, with extensive mirrors adding to a sense of spaciousness. Balconies are available with a large percentage of the cabins. Closets and storage space are more than adequate (remember there is a good amount of room under the bed for suitcases and miscellany). The bathrooms are small, and the regular showers are especially narrow (my shoulders touch the wall and the curtain when showering, but upper grade cabins have tubs and wider showers).

Whether one wants an inside, outside, balcony, or suite is a matter of taste and budget. In general, prices are so reasonable on this itinerary (especially in the pre-Christmas low season) that this is one cruise where one can usually afford a better cabin category, if that is important to you. Port and starboard cabin locations are immaterial on this itinerary since sights and docking vary from port to port. Be aware that the new room safes re-program with each closure. At each closure, one enters ones personal 4 digit code followed by the # key. If you slip and enter a "wrong" number without watching the screen, you might not be able to open the safe again without help. The room mini-bar is convenient, but watch those prices.

The cruisers on this itinerary were mostly late middle-aged, with only a few younger families with children since school was still in session. We met more Latin and African Americans and more Europeans on this cruise than we had on any previous Caribbean cruise, which suggests that Celebrity is wisely broadening its market appeal.

The ship's staff tends to be East European in the dining and bar areas, and Asian in the cabin areas. All speak English and all are extremely well trained – they certainly treated us "famously", as the advertising promises. It is ironic that each staff member we spoke with was as interesting as any of the cruisers we met. The staff members were working rather than vacationing on board largely by the circumstance of being born in a developing part of the world -- if born in America, they would probably be professionals in a variety of fields.

Security onboard has improved in subtle ways. You might not notice it, but there is a guard watching the pool area from the deck above during much of the day. A few ports actually did verify our photo id at the pier (we carry a Xerox of the photo page of our passports – we never take our passports ashore). I hope in addition that there are security cameras in the public areas. My wife was robbed while alone on deck during a previous cruise, and the newly upgraded security is more than welcome.

The cuisine on Celebrity’s ships, in addition to the service, is what has made their reputation and set them a notch ahead of the competition. Dinner in the main dining room is wonderful entertainment in itself. The choices for each course are inspired, and the preparation and presentation provide the highlight of each cruise day. To be honest, the main buffet line is standard for the industry, but the specialty buffets at each meal can be delightful – custom omelets and Belgian waffles; specialty salads; good carvery meats including the honey-baked ham; glorious breads and rolls including sticky buns, panettone, light-as-air-bagels (an oxymoron but true), homemade ice cream; Aqua Spa lean cuisine; sushi; orgasmically wonderful patisserie desserts; etc., etc.

To avoid gaining weight, we usually have a light buffet breakfast (usually fruit and an egg-alternative omelet), a sweet roll and ship’s tap water while adventuring on shore, a late Aqua Spa lunch, a pre-dinner snack (a slice of pizza or sushi), and a full late dinner in the main dining room. The latter is healthful because portions are controlled and one can have something at each course without feeling full. We have never tried the surcharged ($30 US) alternative restaurant, since the main dining room has been so enjoyable on all of our cruises.

Part 2 of Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review

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